Sonntag, 23. Dezember 2007!

The number 1 of the weekly Christmas countdown means that now all 4 candles of the advent wreath illuminate the home and create the right winter atmosphere. After the Christmas holydays my departure to Taiwan will follow. Last year the situation was much better, because I left Germany mid December. I avoided the whole Christmas stress. At this moment all comes together: year-end closings, purchasing and exchanging of christmas gifts, packing of the baggage ...

Even the itinerary in Taiwan is partly still unclear: Will we enjoy the fireworks of Taipei 101 in the overcrowded and burstling capital or will we go to a secluded mountain village, where nobody ever heard about Western New Year? At least my wife booked for some days a room in an East Taiwanese guest house , that vaunts its concept of the missing tv-set, non existing air condition and absent wireless internet. Their concept should be really unique in Taiwan. But at this place the tranquility, closeness to the nature and view to the Pacific ocean must be fantastic.

During the last years I always missed the celebration of the Western New Year, because at the special moment I slept deeply like an angel. Only the Chinese New Year is important for traditional Taiwanese. The activities in the night of December 31 are only exciting for young people that like to have parties and the pubs to promote their business.

Kenting with its beautyful beaches is not a part of the route this time. Nevertheless Luo You dreams about 20 degrees Celsius, sunshine and the sound of the waves if he is thinking in his departure to Taiwan.

Sonntag, 16. Dezember 2007

... two ...

The third advent weekend passed that gave several opportunities to visit some of the local Christmas markets.

At Lüntenbeck House the hosts offered more than sausage, potato pancake and hot chocolate with amaretto.

Also the Kasper, the German correspondent of Mr. Punch, acted out in the afternoon and enjoyed children and adults. After the question of my wife, who is Kasper, Luo You googeled: One origin of the character you can find in British annual village fairs. „Mr. Punch and Judy" is a famous puppet play to enjoy the spectators. If Mr. Punch throws his baby out of the window, struggles with his wife, kills all authorities and let out all his aggressions, he becomes a character the oppressed masses can identify with.

I remembered also this kind of puppet theatre sunday evening, when I watched the so called “motor sport” telecast GRIP at the German tv channel RTL II, that I also like to call asshole tv.

A big part of this telecast contained the ambitious and malicious destruction of three second-hand-cars. So the vehicles lost all of their remaining utility value. Eg the anchorman slitted all four tires of the Opel Astra - shown in the picture above - to total the car on the rims.

For many people in the world those cars could support incredibly their living standard and save their economic existences. Now they were just destroyed to catch for some moments the attention of the spectators and fill the minutes between the commercials.

How the German society deals with values, that were once created by the sweat and the efforts of its members, reflect the media as well as the visible reality. Enough people need more sublimation of their aggressions than to watch “Mr. Punch“ and so called „motor sport telecasts“ including the warning in good fun “Don´t follow our example!” of the smirking Matthias Malmedie.

On the way home at the suburban train station in Wuppertal was almost all broken: the ticket machine, the clock at the platform, the train indicator. The wind protection of the benches was missing. At the platform of the “non smoking” station” the cigarettes ponked, in the train the broken toilett spread its ugly smell. Graffitis covered the seats and the inner walls of the cars.

Employees except thefrustrated train driver in his closed cabin, that shocked passengers could tell their complaints, were missing. At least the doors of the car were working and the train was almost on time - a very rare case in this country. Well, the broken ticket machine allowed a free ride. Otherwise the ticket fares reached almost the British level, means unbelievable expansive especially in comparison to the offered service. I really wonder what we pay for.

So, this is Germany: The working people create value, whereon the entrepeneurs and chief executives like Mr Mehdorn or Mr Demant (27.661 employees of Opel in 2006, 46.000 in 1996) accuse them that they ask for too much money and recommend them better to ask for social support ofthe government.

Next the created values were destroyed by media, in reality or simply by the decision to let them deteriorate (eg the railway infrastructure). The people who created those values got no chance to use them in a suitable way.

Destruction and deterioration are also financed by the working people either

- by the products that they buy and whose companies pay the advertisement of the tv channels like RTL 2 or

- by the social transfer that allows the hooligans to buy the beer and the aerosol cans or

- by the just raised fees for transport or

- by the increased car use because the public transport is inacceptable in relation to safety, service and cleanness or

- by the privatization of the railway company that is equivalent of the waste of public resources in favour of the benefit of few accounts.

Thus I´m not amazed that the former prime minister of the North-RhineWestphalian state, Mr Steinbrück, once cutted extremely my salary and raised my working hours. Later he raised the taxes to reduce my real earnings. Somehow the increasing negative circle of creating and destroying values must be financed.

Seemingly the economic circle in Taiwan moves in the right way. Clean stations - above Tzoying 2004 - with a lot of employees for service inTaiwan, Japan, Hongkong and China, like in Germany 30 years ago, are the normal situation. Reasonable fares cause a good use to capacity. Safety and missing malicious mischief ingratiate the public transport. Instead of complaining about the high expanses by vandalism and malicious mischief the Taiwanese railway administration employs many workers, that do not possess a high income, but show a great working discipline and satisfaction. They create an atmosphere of community and responsibility, that is missing in Germany and displaced by demotivation, frustration and undamped aggression. Paradise Taiwan?

Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2007

... three ...

Today was the turn of the advent wreath´s second candle. That means there are only two and half week til christmas and slightly less than three weeks til our departure to Taiwan.

I regret that I can´t go earlier to Taiwan like last year and escape from all the German christmas trouble in December: traffic jams in the big cities because of the extreme shopping fever and the christmas markets, countless christmas parties and annoying new year wishes as if a new life will start in 2008. Nevertheless there are still some positive reports about the last week:

Santa Luo shows what Santa Claus gave him.

Besides all those Christian stuff there was the opportunity last week to visit a buddhist presentation of the "Boddhisattva buddhistischen Kulturverein i.G." (Boddhisattva buddhist culture club in the course of incorporation) in Duesseldorf. First their chairman explained the purpose and the aims of the club. Then a dharma master held a speech about the themes "Why buddhism?" and "How to practice buddhism?". The master was a lady, that came from Heidelberg where she did her doctorate. 20 families and 10 single persons belong to the buddhist club. Because the club is still in the course of incorporation, there is not yet a web page or a home of the club. I guess their examples are the islamic culture clubs, that were founded by the muslims who are living since decades in Germany. People are looking for support and a feeling of security in a strange and cold society. Mainly Taiwanese support the "Boddhisattva buddhistischen Kulturvereins i.G.". My wife is always amazed how many of her compatriots are residents in the cities of Western Germany. A real surprise at this evening was the meeting with an acquaintance from Kaohsiung, who is also a member of this club and contributed to the supporting musical programme of the evening as a violinist.

You find always confirmation how small this world is. Actually there is no place on this little vulnerable planet, swinging in the space, for crazy dictatorships and nationalistic assigments, excessive selfishness and racist hierarchy thinking, that endangers the existence of the whole mankind.

At the sight of the buddhist and other taiwanese orientated activities in Germany Luo You became curious and asks if there are similar, mirrored German networks in Taiwan.

Montag, 3. Dezember 2007

Countdown 2007 - 2nd Alternative

Daily Counting

This is the current calendar in my office. The advent calendar was sponsored by the German post "Deutsche Post", the "Postbank", "DHL" - all those companies that once belonged to the government run "Deutsche Bundespost". Seemingly they still have tied relations, at least on this calendar.

Three little gates are already open. However, Luo You got nothing of the sweet content and chocolate. His female co-worker were much faster this morning. In Taiwan the typical German advent calendar causes more astonishment than round-shaped bellies and the need of a strict diet after christmas.

December 24, 2004 the English teacher´s assistant with the strong German accent could spread some Western culture in a Kindergarten of the second biggest city of Taiwan, Kaohsiung. The little students had the chance to see for the first time in their life a real advent calendar. Because it was the 24th of December and Holy Eve they could open all doors number by number immediately. Fortunately the group had exactly 24 children. Especially fair was that the most shy boy got the biggest piece of chocolate at the end. Only one slight problem appeared: The Taiwanese winter is still warm enough to melt the German cocolate. Well, the students even learned some English by this presentation. Each of kids had to say the current number before they opened the door and when they got the chocolate: "Thank You, Santa!" --- "Ho, Ho, Ho!"

Sonntag, 2. Dezember 2007

Four ....

This morning Luo You (Fortunately my wife didn´t name me "Mohamed", otherwise pervert guys in some countries got the strange idea to whip her or treat her in other bad ways. Sometimes I have very serious doubts, that the human species belongs to the intelligent live forms.) incended the first candle of the advent wreath and enjoyed his plain breakfast.

The alternative counter 2, the daily counter, is hanging in my office. Thus I could not yet show it in my blog. Maybe tomorrow I can offer you more ...